Have you come home and found your favorite fish dead in its tank? Did one of your fish die recently and you can't stop thinking about it? Getting over the loss of any pet can be hard, but with the time you can move on.
Part 1 of 3:Coping with the LossDownload Article
1Take time to grieve. There is nothing strange or wrong with mourning the passing of a living being that was important to you, indeed it is a natural reaction. Don't feel the need to hurry up and get over the death of your fish. People need different amounts of time to grieve - there is no set amount of time when grieving should end. Take the time that you need to work through this.Expert SourceWilliam Gardner, PsyDClinical PsychologistExpert Interview. 25 July 2019.
2Understand your grief. Grieving is a process. Although some people may not understand, you may go through all of the five stages of grief (or just a couple of them) due to the loss of your fish. The emotional pain you feel as a result of losing your fish may be deeper than you expected. The stages include denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and finally acceptance.Expert SourceWilliam Gardner, PsyDClinical PsychologistExpert Interview. 25 July 2019.
You may not want to believe that your fish is dead. For a few days, you could be in denial, not wanting to accept that your fish is really gone.
Feeling angry at yourself for what you think you could or should have done to save your fish is also a normal stage of grieving. Don't be too hard on yourself, however.
Many people feel depressed after the loss of a pet. It is okay to cry or feel sad for a while immediately following the death.
3Talk to people that understand. These may be family members, friends, or even an online forum. Share what you are feeling with them. These are people that care about you and empathize with what you are going through. They can help you work through what you are feeling.
4Give your fish a memorial service. This event will not only allow you to remember your fish and say goodbye but can also be the time that you take care of the remains. This can be a few last words before a trash receptacle service, or a full-blown funeral with burial, it is your choice.
Have a few moments of silence to reflect on your relationship with your fish.
You may want to say a few words, play a song, or read a poem that reminds you of your fish.
Some people light a small candle in honor of their fish.
You could also plant a flower or a tree in memory of your pet, draw or paint a picture of your pet fish to place in a special spot in your home, or write a letter to your pet expressing your gratitude for the life of your pet had.
5Save your memories. Although it might be too painful for you to look through now, later you will be glad you preserved the memories. If you have things that remind you of your fish, put them away so that later you can reflect on your pet.
Create a scrapbook. You might include a brochure from the pet store about the fish, drawings, photos, the leaves of the fake or live plants from the tank, etc.
Write a poem, short story, or biography about your fish.
Make a slideshow or frame a photo of your fish.
6Use your aquarium as a memorial. You can use your tank to honor the memory of your fish in a variety of creative ways.
If you are still using the tank for other fish, you may want to put something in there in memory of the fish you lost. It could be a tiny hand-made tombstone or a pretty rock or seashell with coloring and pattern that reminds you of your fish.
If you don't have other fish, you can clean the aquarium out and use it to hold a memorial plant or flowers.
If the tank is empty, and looking at it causes you too much pain, then clean it out and put it away. Put a nice plant or decoration in the place where the fish tank used to be.
You can also decide to keep your fish in a safe place like a box, it can be homemade, or have your little one cremated.
Part 2 of 3:Taking Care of the RemainsDownload Article
1Make sure it's really dead. Sometimes fish can appear dead but are actually sick or in distress. Before you dispose of the body, make sure that your fish is actually dead.Sometimes fish can swim on their side or upside down because they are constipated. Check the gills, eyes, and skincare.
Watch the gill covers closely. For a few moments, watch your fish make sure it's not just breathing very slowly.
Does it respond when you gently nudge it?
If the skin has become discolored or white, it may indicate rotting, parasites, or disease.
Look at your fish's eyes. If the eyes have turned grey, then the fish has passed on.
2Try to determine why your fish died. If possible, look the fish over and try to figure out why it died. Especially if you have other fish in that tank or plan on getting another fish in the future, this can help you prevent future deaths. It can also give you a sense of closure so that you aren't continually wondering why your fish died.
Check the water levels. Was the tank too full? Did the fish jump out because the water level was too high or because there wasn't a lid on the tank? Was there enough water in the tank?
Test the water quality. Is the pH, ammonia, nitrite, etc. levels what they should be?
Is there an obvious injury (split fins, open wounds, etc.)? Does it appear the fish got into a fight or injured by some of the tank equipment?
Do you see any signs of disease, infection, or parasites? Is the body discolored or bloated?
Is it possible your fish ate too much or became poisoned by something foreign in the tank?
3Properly and respectfully dispose of the body. Once you are sure your fish is dead, then you need to take care of the remains. There are several options you have for taking care of the body, and the final decision is up to you. While many people flush their fish down the toilet, this is not recommended. If the fish died of a disease, it could pollute the local water.
Don't put your dead fish in a body of water, such as a pond, river, or ocean. Your fish could be carrying a disease that can infect wildlife.
You can bury it in the backyard, a composting area, or a flowerpot. Make sure you bury the body at least two feet deep (60 cm) so that other animals don't dig the body up.
Some people believe that the body doesn't contain the “spirit” of the fish anymore and simply place their fish's body in the trash.
Part 3 of 3:Taking Care of Your Other FishDownload Article
1Make sure your other fish are healthy. Check your fish often to make sure everything is okay. Is there anything you can do to prevent your other fish from dying? If your fish died from a disease or parasite, keep a close eye on any remaining fish in case they get sick, too.
Change the water immediately after you remove your dead fish. This will help remove harmful viruses, bacteria, etc. that may be in the water.
If you don't have one already, invest in a filter and, for tropical fish (including bettas), a heater.
Make sure that your tank is large enough for the fish you keep or plan on keeping.
2Invest in a quarantine tank. This can be a smart move if a fish falls ill in the future. Putting it in the quarantine tank can give you time to closely observe it and try to determine what is wrong. It also helps protect any other fish you may have.
3Consider getting a new fish. You may want to get a new fish (or two), not necessarily to replace the fish that died but to continue the type of relationship you had with that fish. You can even get a new fish that resembles the one you have lost.
If you're thinking about getting a new fish, remember that you will have to cycle the tank again before adding your new fish.
If the water and everything else seems okay, add more fish to the aquarium after about a week. This will give you time to monitor the other fish, the water, etc. to make sure everything is as it should be.
Only add a few new fish at a time. This will make it easier for you to watch all the fish to see how they are getting along and to make sure that they are all healthy.